Keeping freshwater pom pom crabs can be a fun and rewarding experience, but there are many things to know before you get your hands on one. This guide will tell you all the basics of freshwater pom pom crab care so that you’re prepared for your new pet. First, let’s start with some surprising facts about freshwater pom-poms!

Don’t get confused with saltwater pom pom crab

Saltwater pom pom crab
Saltwater pom pom crab

Saltwater pom pom crab (scientific name Lybia tessellata or Lybia edmondsoni) is a species of small crab in the family Xanthidae. They live in shallow sea in the Pacific Ocean, mostly Haiwaiian Islands or tropical Indo-Pacific Ocean.

Freshwater pom pom crab
Freshwater pom pom crab

Freshwater pom pom crab (scientific name Ptychognathus Barbatus) is a species of crab in the family Pinnotheridae. Freshwater pom pom crabs can be found throughout Southeast Asian, Taiwan & southern Japan.

Saltwater pom-poms are much larger than freshwater, and require a specialized tank. They can grow up to 6 inches across! Salt water pommes may look like freshwater ones at first glance but they have different colors and patterns on their carapaces (hard shell) that set them apart from the freshwater family. The two crabs are also night and day in their behavior: saltwater poms live deep at the bottom of your tank and they like to stay there, whereas freshwater ones will try to climb out of your aquarum.

Saltwater pom pom crab also have longer legs & slimmer claws. Because saltwater pom-poms live in shallow ocean beds, near coral reefs, they developed more colorful shells, compare to more brownish yellow freshwater pom pom crabs.

Keeping freshwater pom pom crab is an undemanding task

And I mean freshwater pom pom crabs are really not picky with their living conditions. You can throw them in a fishbowl, add some fine sands as substrate, add some tap water, and they’ll thrive. Add some decorations & plants, they’re will be happy for life.

The only thing you need to do is give them fresh water every day, feed them some pellets from time-to-time, and make sure the temperature doesn’t get too high. The tank water should be around 68° – 78° F (20° – 25° C), which is very easy to maintain.

And that’s why freshwater pom pom crabs are perfect for beginners.

Freshwater pom pom crabs are perfect for shallow & nano aquarium tanks

The freshwater pom poms are a great choice for those who have shallow or nano aquariums. They are small crabs, reaching a maximum size of just over an inch. They also have beautiful colors and get along well with other species in the tank.

They can be kept alone or in pairs because they don’t grow large enough to fight for territory like their saltwater counterparts do.

The only chance where pom pom crabs fight each other is when mating season. The male pom-poms will fight for a chance to mate with the female. You can differentiate sexes by looking at their aprons under their belly. The female will have a wider, more rounded one.

Freshwater pom pom crabs are not picky with their foods

In natural habitat, freshwater pom poms eat a wide range of food, such as insects, worms and small crustaceans. Freshwater pom pom crabs also feed on a wide range of algae, including those that are unpalatable to other crabs.

In captivity, freshwater pom pom crabs have a wide range of diet. They can be fed with freshwater shrimp pellets that are specifically designed for bottom feeder, or algae waffers, and various of live feeds. Remember to change water in your aquarium regularly to keep the water clean.

They are the perfect tankmates

Freshwater pom pom crabs are amazing tank mates, they’ll happily coexist with most creatures inside your tanks. Well, as long as they’re well fed. There are cases when pom pom crabs can attack other small creatures for food.

They can be a bit agressive during molting period & mating season. But other than that, we rarely see them showing any agressive behavior.

They’re an interesting creatures to watch

Freshwater pom pom crabs shy little creatures, but man, they’re curious. They will burrow under the substrate and looking around curiously. They’ll also try to explore new places to hide, or climb to the top of a plant, as if they’re the king of your aquarium.

Freshwater pom pom crab
Freshwater pom pom crab climbing a plant

Along with their colorful & funny-looking claws, freshwater pom pom crabs are the best pet for your kids.

If your auqarium is short and/or does not have lid, they might climb out of your tank. So becareful & take appropriate measurements.

There is not much to be known about their breeding habit

Freshwater pom pom crabs are new addition to the aquariums community. There are a lot of knowledge for this little specie that we haven’t yet understood.

Freshwater pom pom crabs, as their name, are known to live in freshwater environment, especially stream or lake. However, there are indications that they breed or lay eegs in saltwater environment or in brackish water.

There isn’t any well-researched document that record the reproductive process of freshwater pom pom crabs.

Pom pom crabs also need calcium supplements

Just like any other crustaceans, freshwater pom pom crabs also go through the molting process. During this molting process, they will shed the old shell to let their body grow larger. This process is essential for pom pom crabs, and they usually go through this process once a year.

The molting process requires a large amount of calcium. And in captive environment, there are many freshwater pom pom crabs not getting enough calcium.

This, in turn, will lead to stunted growth and reduced life span. So it is essential for owners of these animals to provide them with a diet that includes ample quantities of calcium supplements such as oyster shells or crushed eggshells.

Freshwater pom pom crabs like to hide & burrow

Freshwater pom pom crabs like to hide and burrow. They enjoy digging into the substrate of their aquariums, and they will often do this during molting season so as to avoid any injury that might happen while shedding its old shell. One way owners can help is by providing a hiding spot for them with some driftwood or stones in it – these freshwater animals love hiding behind things!

The downside is that they are not very social creatures; even though pet stores recommend keeping multiple freshwater poms together since they prefer company, many people find out after purchase (or later on) about how territorial freshwater poms are.

They are generally resistant to illnesses

Since freshwater poms are such unique critters, they’re also resistant to illnesses that often plague other types of crabs. For example, the freshwater pom is safe from vibriosis and necrotizing hepatopancreatitis – two common diseases found in saltwater crabitat systems!

Bonus: How long does freshwater pom pom crabs live?

In natural habitat, freshwater pom-poms can live up to 3 years in ideal environment.

In captive environment, most freshwater pom-poms will have lifespan of more than 1 years.

Final thoughts

So there you have it, ten things that are sure to surprise any freshwater poms owner. Freshwater Pom-poms are such an exciting creatures that are suitable for all level of keepers and they’re fun for all ages.

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